Photos: Southern vs. Praire View _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Southern defensive tackle Gabe Echols (90) admonishes Prairie View running back Johnta Hebert (3) not to try to run against the Southern defense in the first half in Prairie View Saturday.


Champions have a lot of muscle memory. Southern entered the game without 10 starters and six key reserves because of injuries and academic issues and still played like the team that won the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship last season. At times in nonconference play, the Jaguars looked shell-shocked and lacking confidence — but in their conference opener, they played with the swagger of a champion, winning relatively easily despite being outgained 475-303.


Austin Howard got his first start at quarterback, played the whole game and looked like a guy who’s getting a good handle on things. His biggest advantage over Deonte Shorts is his passing ability, and his biggest disadvantage had been four interceptions in the first three games. But he managed the game effectively, took care of the football and made enough plays in the passing game to complement a strong running game that totaled 195 yards, including 117 that set the tone in the first half.


As well as the Jaguars did in overcoming the loss of so many key players, they can’t continue to lose them to injuries at the rate they have been. Though Lenard Tillery said his departure was just because of cramps, Southern lost another running back (Tyre Bracken) after Malcolm Crockett and Jamarcus Jarvis missed the trip with injuries. Terrell Lee limped off as he joined fellow center Brandon Thibodeaux on the injured list, along with a handful of other key players.